Del Toro continues his run of clock obsessed, beautifully crafted films that share brutal realism with fairy tale elements. This time the children’s fantasy is grafted onto 1940s Spain, as Franco’s fascists fight guerillas while a girl must pass three magical tasks in order to remain immortal.
It shouldn’t work, but in Del Toro’s capable hands it all seems to hang together well enough to never seem jarring or forced. The performance by the little girl is convincing without being precocious, and the more adult-themed elements are, if predictable, a nice tonic to any overly sweet treatment during the fairy tale portion.
Truly a film with vision, it may not be a perfect film but it’s certainly an enjoyable and interesting one.